In 2019, 43% of the authors and interviewees in the Finnish Architectural Review were women

6.3.2020

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. We browsed through issues from the past five years (2015–2019) to find out more about the presence of women in our publication.

At large, the number of women working in architecture is on the rise. Currently in Finland over 50% of architects are women. 

Women in Finland first begun studying architecture at the end of the 19th century – Signe Hornborg (1862–1916) was probably the first woman in Europe to graduate as an architect. Already in 1930, nearly one third of the members of the Finnish Association of Architects were women. which by international comparison, was highly unusual.

Still, gendered structures remain in place within the architectural practice. Historically, the tendency to foreground individual architects and their work has favoured male architects. Family policies and gender equality in the society at large affect also the architectural profession, even today.

So where are female architects exactly, what kind of positions do they hold, what are they working with?

At least they do write about architecture. 

In celebration of the International Women’s Day on 8th of March, we went through issues from the past five years to find out more about female presence on our pages. Last year, in 2019, 43% of the authors and interviewees were women. 49% of the articles were written by women.

However, men dominate the authorship of the featured design projects. The magazine routinely asks the architecture firms of each showcased project to name 1-5 most important contributors in the design team. In 2019, only one third of these contributors were women. This is most likely due to the fact that the majority of architecture firms is still run by male architects.

Should we then ask, what kind of architecture is deemed “of high quality” and “worth presenting”? Is our range too narrow? Is the architecture authored by women different than architecture by male architects? Can we change the criteria? How to be more inclusive?

Equality is not just a gender issue – we want to promote diverse voices, include marginal communities, take into account geographical diversity, different generations and so on. (By the way, in 2019, the oldest contributor to the Finnish Architectural Review was 83 years old while the youngest was 29.)

Writing about architecture means contributing to the structures that underpin the architectural practice. We welcome texts and thoughts related to these (and other) questions.

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we collected some articles that have offered viewpoints on women and architecture or feminism on our pages during the recent years. The articles are openly accessible here